The Great Republican Tax Robbery

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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You’ve been robbed.

The train you’re riding on, the USA Express, was just stopped, boarded, and robbed. The robbers went through the cars, stealing what they wanted, but with one diabolical twist: the poorer you were, the more they took. And if you were very wealthy, they actually GAVE you money.

And they’re coming back.
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It is difficult to find words that are adequate to describe the massiveness of the Republican tax bill, in both the scope and the venality of its effects. It will affect everyone in this nation, in ways that cannot be fully comprehended now. The positive effects are front-loaded, in hopes that voters will not realize the devastation caused by Republicans until after the 2018 elections.

The negative effects? Oh, they’re coming.
— In addition to the massive transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and uber-wealthy;
— in addition to the destruction of Obamacare by the repeal of the individual mandate, thus driving up premiums and throwing millions off their health insurance;
— in addition to the tax increases loaded on the back end, which are actually higher for the poor and middle class;
— in addition to all that, this bill adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the deficit. Why does that matter?

Because Social Security.

Republicans are ALREADY laying the groundwork for cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid because of the increase in the deficit and debt. They will pass legislation to means-test for Social Security and Medicare, and lower any cost-of-living increases. They will gut, or completely destroy, Medicaid. All in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

People kept wondering why the party of deficit hawks would pass a bill that increases the deficit so dramatically. Those of us who lived through the Reagan playbook understood the play: create deficits so you can cut programs. It’s not about balancing the budget, and it never has been; it’s all about cutting those damn safety net programs.

And as they were robbing us all, something else happened: Each robber started pocketing some of the loot, instead of putting it into the gang’s money box.

“Hey, I own real estate. Can I get a special deduction just for me?” “Got you covered right here, Mr. Corker!”

“What about me? I own car dealerships.” “Here you go!”

“And me too! My trust owns a business!” “And me, I own an engineering firm!” “Are you voting for the bill?” “Well … “ “All right, tax breaks for both of you, IF you vote for the bill!”

In fact, there are so many special deductions and carve-outs in the bill, most added at the last minute to secure the votes, that it looks like a grab-and-go break-in at the local pawn shop.

Josh Marshall called it a heist., and believes it was at least partly driven by both desperation to pass something, and the Republican realization that 2018 is going to be rough, so better get while the getting is good. You should read the entire article, but here is the closing:

But again, the big picture is one of political pessimism and desperation leading to a public policy of generalized looting. That’s the story of this bill.

Tax cuts are the driving force of elite Republican politics. The lack of a bill was demoralizing the donor class, driving down contributions. 2018 looks bad, but with literally no major legislative accomplishments to show, maybe it gets even worse. So you need to pass something. Where do you get the votes?

Sell them. Every man and woman for himself. Everybody take a few appliances out of the store before we burn it down. That’s the story of this bill. It doesn’t even add up in conservative policy terms. It’s really just a heist. Organized looting.

A heist. A massive heist against the American people and the nation itself. The Great Republican Robbery.

And they’re not done. They’re coming back for your Social Security.

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